Set in high society Edwardian England, The Midnight Witch is the story of a young witch who faces the choice between love and loyalty to her coven…
This blurb makes the book sound a lot more fascinating than it really was, in my opinion. Lady Lilith Radnor, daughter of the Duke of Radnor, is as young and beautiful as one expects the heroine to be; she’s also a witch. She is engaged to a fabulously handsome young man, who is also a witch. Her father has trained her since her childhood to take over his position in the Lazarus Coven when he dies; her brother Freddie is not magical, and is a drunk and an opium addict hardly stable enough to take over as Duke. Her father’s unexpected passing pushes her into the position sooner than she would have liked. The coven specializes in necromancy, raising the dead using a special elixir. Lilith barely has begun her new duties as Head Witch when a rival coven threatens to steal the elixir, setting off a battle.
Now all this happens in the beginning of the book and it’s off to a decent start, but so many things irritated me. First of all, could there be a lazier job title than Head Witch? It sounds like she’s the school principal, was there nothing more creative Ms Brackston could’ve come with? Also, the Duke of whatever would have a last name different from the duchy, i.e. George Smith, Duke of Radnor, meaning his children would have the last name Smith, not Radnor. I’ve read enough historical romance to know this, so it struck me as odd. The magical powers Lilith has seem to be rather weak, even though she’s the boss, and it was not what I was expecting.
One of the tenents of the coven is to keep it secret, of course, as per her father’s vow: “If you do not speak your secrets aloud, others will not have the chance to betray you with them. Keep the faith, and keep silent. It is what I have been trained to do all this time.” So what does Lilith do when she meets and falls in love with a non magical artist? She tells him all of her secrets, because of course you do. Not only is she spilling coven secrets, she is betraying her fiancé, and is reluctant to tell him the truth at first. She summons the spirit of her dead father to introduce Bram (the artist) to him, which doesn’t go over as she expected either.
The book is told in varying viewpoints – we have first person Lilith, but then it will jump to Bram’s second person view, as well as another character who is out to steal the elixir. There are jumps in tense, and time jumps that are confusing. Quite honestly, I didn’t find Lilith to be anyone to root for; she was weak willed and inconsistent and I couldn’t get into the plot. I skimmed along to get to the ending, and by then I didn’t really care what happened. It seemed like Lilith wanted her magical fiancé and her non-magical artist lover, without giving up either one. I would have enjoyed this more if the author had focused on the coven and the witchcraft, rather than making this another cliché triangle love story.